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Had another go with my Udarny list in a FoW tournament held over the weekend in Hartford, CT.

The list I played:

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I made a few changes to the list that I played up in Canada last month. Most notably, the IS-2’s were left out. I just don’t think that a ROF 1 tank is worth the points hitting on 5’s and 6’s. I was outshot by AT12 assets thru weight of fire – twice as many dice hitting twice as often caused more damage to me than I could to him, even with the enormous mismatch in armor values. With the usual German stormtrooper and smoke shenanigans keeping me on the move I couldn’t get off a decent volley. In a Tankovy list I might still take them to provide high AT assets to complement faster tanks, but not with infantry.

I used the points saved to beef up both Udarny Strelkovy companies to three platoons – 12 stands in each + CC. I also dropped a couple of Maxim HMG teams in one platoon. With the company commander I added AT rifles and AT guns to attach out to the platoons. With Flamethrower teams added in this is enough to reach QoQ levels for both companies.

As additional AT assets, I went with 4 BS-3 AT guns. AT16, yay, ROF 1, boo. I’m not sold on immobile assets but my thinking was that in defense these are my ambushers. They can effectively create a dead-zone for opposing armor as AT16 threatens basically everything, and volley fire is brutal (more on that later!). I’ve never used them before but was basing this decision on the difficulties I’ve experienced attacking against Pak’s. They are worth the points just to interdict movement.

I purchased a one-squad scout platoon for infiltration and recon, as this is thematic with this list. My thinking process was that I can attack against infantry (the list is Always attack against opposing infantry) with big infantry companies supported by flamethrowers. Infiltration opens up the possibility to have flamethrower teams right in the enemy’s face on turn one. It would be nice to have infantry, flamethrowers, and better recon options along with infiltration – this is an idea I’ll be list shopping. Udarny provides the bonus to skill checks that is a big plus, however.

On defense, I have enough AT assets to keep my opponent honest, and a nasty pile of infantry for him to try to dig out.

To round out the list I had 120mm mortars and 4 SU-122’s. The SU’s aren’t worth much against decent armor, but they can really mess up dug in infantry if given a chance and provide my only mobile asset on defense.

Six platoons total.

Round 1: Encounter against US Infantry

My opponent had US Infantry with a 6-gun battery of 105’s with AOP. The game was a snooze fest. There was no way my opponent could attack me outnumbered 2-1 by fearless vet-equivalents in assault without softening me up first. There was no way I could get my infantry into assault range against his artillery with AOP – everything I moved died. He had two platoons of TD’s which kept my assault guns from setting up an effective fire base and he smoked me on those few occasions that I was able to get a good shot set up. My BS-3’s kept him honest and basically prevented his armor from moving on half of the table. I gave away an easy point trying to surprise his recon with my scouts coming in from reserves and lost a 2-1 draw after at least twenty turns. Thinking about the game I could really use AA assets to help with AOP lists.

Round 2: Surrounded against German Infantry (as attacker)

The perfect set-up for my list. German Infantry with tank and SP arty support. My opponent  hid all of his armor in woods to prevent BS-3 sniping, but this left him open to infiltration, which I took advantage of. One objective was flamed and assaulted on turn one and was under constant pressure for the entire game. He was left with only his open-topped SP guns defending the other objective, under BS-3 fire and threated by flamethrowers and AT rifle armed infantry.

Now for the down side – we only played three turns and I lost the game 4-3 on time. If we played five turns I would have reduced my opponent to just a few tanks and there was almost no chance he could survive more than one more turn on both objectives. This was a very disappointing result but the tourney was only 2-hour rounds and in fairness the other player was in dire straights and playing very carefully right from the first turn. He wasn’t slow-playing and he did a bunch of damage to one infantry platoon, causing a morale check. Thank goodness for big companies and Komissars ;->

The silver lining was that the list worked in an infantry-infantry attack exactly as I had planned/hoped.

Round 3: The Cauldron (as defender)

Another decent set up for me, table wise. My opponent had one infantry platoon, Panthers, StuG and StuH’s, recon, and bloody Rudel. The avenues of attack available to my opponent were pretty obvious and I had defensible terrain to set up in. I placed my BS-3’s in immediate ambush and spread out my infantry to cover both objectives. Scouts, SU’s, and mortars went into reserve. The Germans deployed pretty much where they had to, I placed by BS-3’s opposite his Panthers.

The Panthers advanced onto a wood-covered hill facing my BS-3 line, the StuG/H’s danced around trying not to get destroyed by BS-3’s and his infantry and recon were in reserve. The stand off between Panther and BS-3’s was very one sided as I lost three guns in return for one random shot on a StuG and nothing (not one single hit needing 5’s on 4 dice) against the Panthers. In the turn I lost three of my guns it dawned on my tiny brain that I had forgotten the Volley Fire rule on the BS-3’s for four turns running!! Crapola!! That should have been a game-changing screw up – missing for four turns was statistically improbable, missing for four turns WITH re-rolls would have been almost impossible.

The silver lining of the one-sided gun duel was that I had forced my opponent to make a choice; either fire at my BS-3’s or take shots at the infantry assembling to assault him. He took out the guns and in the following turn I was able to successfully flame his three Panthers (no damage done but NO DEFENSIVE FIRE ;->) and then assault with a pile of AT Rifle infantry (Tank Assault 3) and SMG infantry. End result – three dead Panthers!

The balance of the game saw my opponent lose his infantry assaulting my right flank. This attack diverted assets from my left and my opponent put a lot of pressure on the objective placed there. My reserves were either stupidly squandered with a very lazy placement that allowed defensive fire (I could have moved my scouts over half an inch from where I initially put them down and suffered no defensive fire) or taken out with a miracle volley (5 StuG’s, 5 shots, 5 hits, 5 failed saves, 5 passed firepower checks. Poof, 4 Su-122’s erased).

After 14 turns (yup) I was still in possession of both objectives when time was called. Result, 4-3 win.

So, a 20+ turn lost draw, a 14 turn win, and a 3!!! turn loss that I was dominating on the table.

The list did what I thought it would and was a lot of fun to play in 2 of 3 games. I’m thinking of making a couple of changes for next time.

I had a lot of infantry teams and it wasn’t always useful or easy to deploy. I am going to tweak the balance of infantry in the two companies by only selecting the third platoon for one Udarny company and using the points saved to add the pioneer teams available in company support. The flamethrower/assault trick I used against the Panthers was an eye-opener for me. Need a few more stands with high Tank Assault rating to up the defensive ante quite a bit.

Speaking of flamethrowers – I like. I like a lot. They provide a crushing alpha strike. I think I want to try replacing the Su-122’s with Flamethrower tanks. If I drop the Su-122’s and swap out the BS-3’s for Zis-2’s I can buy 10 OT-34/85 flamethrower tanks. As assault assets the flamethrowers work just fine and that is another 20 dice of flame-throwing goodness. Russians don’t have to leave the battle after using flamethrowers, so all good. They are of course not as useful in an anti-tank role as they are brittle and reduced to ROF 1 on the main gun. But, there are ten of them and they are still AT12. I think it is worth a try, as it is a marginal decrease in my AT power (if at all) and a huge boost to my anti-infantry firepower. Thinking about the first game, I may have been able to deploy flamethrowers from the tanks before the TD’s came on from reserve.  Wouldn’t have worked out as well against the Panthers perhaps, but that is debatable. I lose the BS3 heavy hitters but still have ROF 3 AT11 Zis-2’s in ambush to keep Panthers and Tigers honest. Or I could ambush with the tanks if circumstances are right. I think it is worth a try either way, with AA assets thrown in the mix to round out the list.

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Got in a little FoW action while travelling in Canada. Three rounds, late war, 1650 points. A nice bunch of gamers in a decent sized room.

The list I played:

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I painted up the IS-2’s in my hotel room the night before the tournament, so I had to give them a go.

I am writing this up about a month after the tourney, so my recollection is a bit fuzzy unfortunately.

First Round: Fighting Withdrawal (defender)

First round was as defender in Fighting Withdrawal. I kept the IS-2’s in ambush and deployed the rest with one infantry company covering each objective. On my right, my Su-122’s engaged the enemy infantry and a Tiger. I basically ignored the Tiger to set up a fire base against the infantry. It turned out to be a straight trade platoon for platoon – the tiger killed my assault guns as my assault guns wiped out his infantry.

On the left he tried wiping out my Katy launchers before turn three to force me to withdraw a platoon that was more useful. He wasn’t able to kill the last stand before I withdrew the platoon, but he mistakenly rolled for firepower when he might not have had to. This could possibly have altered the game as he might have played a turn on two more aggressively if he got the launchers on turn two.

As it was, I never actually had to withdraw a platoon after the rocket launchers on turn three. The Su-122’s were killed and that was that, down to four. I really don’t think it would have made a difference, but it might have.

In any case, the IS-2’s were very ineffective once they came on board (against Panthers and Tigers) but did act as an effective deterrent to early aggression. I ended up having to feed teams forward to contest until removing objectives. My opponent had a last-minute charge to try to kill my Mortar platoon and cause a company morale check, but couldn’t reach them in time.

I won the first round 4-3.

Second Round (attacker, don’t remember the scenario)

I played against a very nice young man running some kind of French list with all kinds of special rules. Effective flamethrowing, assault guns, IS-2’s in an anti-tank role against Shermans and a long bloody assault that chewed up about 20 teams across both sides led to a fairly convincing win.

Second round, 6-1 win.

Third Round: don’t remember the scenario details

This was a very close fought game that ended up a 2-3 draw/loss. Probably the most exciting and closely fought game I’ve played so far. This game featured a duel between Pak40’s supported by Marders and my IS-2’s that I just couldn’t win. Not enough shots, even though my tanks should have ROFL-stomped light armor with AT12. Nope, you have to hit to win and when I did score hits I couldn’t pass a firepower check for my life.

One sour note – I have this terrible habit of not “seeing” the objective that my opponent places on the board. At just about any time in this game after the third turn I could have made a dash for a wide-open objective on my left but I just didn’t see it.

Last round, 2-3 draw/loss

Final thoughts – played with a really nice bunch of guys, made a long business trip quite enjoyable. I hope to play with this group again.

That was quite a long break. I’ve been travelling on business for the last several months (years it seems) and have finally had a chance to get back to enjoying a little hobby time.

I played in two Flames of War tournaments in the last few weeks, one on May 10th at ToyWiz in Nanuet, NY and a larger event at NJCon in Edison, NJ this weekend.

I played a thrown together Tankovy list at the ToyWiz event (deja vu from last year at NJCon). I finished mid-pack with a mix of 4-3 and 3-4 games. Fun games but with a very non-optimal list (playing Tankovy with only 5 T-34’s and 8 Stuarts) consisting of 5 platoons and limited air it was very hard to play for a win when attacking Germans. Too many Pak’s and not enough tanks.

Between the two tournaments I went on a painting spree with an eye towards trying out a Rota list at NJCon. I was able to finish everything on my table at the time (a Rota company in universal carriers, a bunch of plastic PSC mortars and an HMG stand or two, and a BF Su-122) as well as finishing up an additional Rota company in captured German halftracks (I used a Rota crew pack with Zvesda 251/1’s which came together pretty well), a motorcycle pack to use as the Rota command, a couple extras stands of SMG platoon leaders, and a Katyusha battery (the little ones). The Katy’s were another kitbash of Zvesda plastic vehicles with BF crews in lead.

I finished painting literally an hour before leaving my house for the convention, but it was worth the marathon. The list was a lot of fun to play and looks pretty neat.

At NJCon, I started out with a 5-2 win over a German infantry company. My opponent had absolutely NO luck with his dice and I passed every critical roll. Peyton had a bright spot or two on the last turn to pick off a platoon and earn a late point, but more or less the dice gave him no chance. First blood to the new Rota company! One observation – the first game was by far the most balanced terrain layout I played on at the show. There were places to shoot and places to hide and places to move, all of the different parts of our armies had something to do.

My second game was a losing effort against more Germans. As lucky as I was in the first game, I was unlucky in this one.  The game turned on a nine-platoon assault that failed to close when my opponent made two-for-two 1/6 rolls and I failed all armor saves. After the fact I realized that I was playing my assault carriers wrong (Russian transports can’t assault, not even the armored ones boo-hoo) but at the time we didn’t know that. 5-2 loss attributable to a lot of bad luck, a moderate helping of bad timing, and a little garden variety bad play. Notes on the layout – we played on opposite hillsides looking across a more-or-less wide open valley. No place to hide so I tried a frontal assault. Not that I need a lot of urging to choose the ‘CHARGE!’ option ;->

The final game was a very frustrating attack on more dug-in German infantry with some pretty nifty support options (Dianas, Italian tanks!, and captured 25lb-ers). The terrain was essentially a fish bowl with line of sight edge to edge and corner to corner. I compounded this by misreading the mission rules (oops) and assuming I could pressure my opponent into leaving his foxholes when in fact he had turns to wait for reserves (oops). I committed to a premature assault that saw me fail every infantry save (9 1’s or 2’s in a row) and lose an entire Rota company in one turn. The bad luck went into overdrive to turn a losing proposition into a 1-6 laugher that I had to concede in four turns. I quite literally didn’t make an infantry save in the game. Ugh.

Summary

At ToyWiz, I kind of relearned a lesson from NJCon last summer – playing a Tankovy list without a lot of tanks is not a great idea. The Rota list was a perfect match for how I like to play, until I realized that only the Germans (and equivs) can use the Mounted Assault rule. That shakes things up for me. I like vehicle MG’s and I like mobility, but having to dismount to assault bums me out.

The army passes the ‘looks cool’ test so will probably do for a while I just need to rethink the balance of armor, infantry, and support.

I picked up a copy of Desperate Measures at the show, and the Hero lists have shaken up my Late War ideas. It seems cool to me to have the opportunity to play the Soviets on equal-ish footing to the Germans. No Hen and Chicks – yes!!

I’m back on the road tomorrow for a long business trip (two weeks) but I will endeavor to put up some pics of the new models when I return. While I am travelling I will be playing in a late war tourney on the 15th. IS-2’s are incoming ;->

These models have been waiting for paint for a while – time to get them out of the way. I’ve been painting mostly vehicles lately, surprising how much more work goes in to infantry.

The AT guns are Command Decision miniatures. Assembly was a minor pain and certain elements lack detail. For example, the inner surface of each wheel is not sculpted at all; it is a flat lead disc without any of the elements that are on the outside (spoked wheel, treads, etc.). I tried to use deep shadows to hide the worst of it.

The gunners are Skytrex – I bought a bag of 50 assorted poses to supplement the goofy PSC gunners from the plastic kits. Unfortunately, these are not great sculptures – the detail is confusing at best. Everything is raised and exaggerated, so at least I was able to pick out what usable detail there is.

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These probably won’t make it into my Rota list – I put them together for my Late-War Udarny list. That said, I think they are very useful as they are the most effective Soviet AT gun that is rated “Light”. For ambush purposes they will have the most flexible placement at AT rating 8 and ROF 3. That is a real threat to the side armor of everything except Tigers.

Finished up a Sturmovik IL-2 from Zvesda, purchased from Amazon for about 5 bucks. The kit lacks certain details that I would like to see but you can’t go wrong for the price. Here are the unboxed contents:

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The kit consists of one full sprue of green plastic parts, the cockpit in clear plastic, a sheet of decals, and a black plastic flight stand. The aircraft fuselage is reasonably detailed (cannons and MG’s) and can be configured with landing gear either deployed or retracted (I went with the “in flight” option”). The panel lines are very very shallow and do not take an oil wash very well, but the plane painted up ok regardless. More disappointing is the lack of any under-wing ordnance; no bombs or rockets. Oh well, I’m not sure any of the other options in 1/144 (e.g. Battlefront) include more detail.

Assembly is very simple as this is a snap-fit kit. There were several mold lines on the one-piece fuselage that were of the carve-scrape-sand-fill variety but other than that the kit was pretty clean.

I painted the plane using the color scheme from the box art – a Russian Green and Khaki camo pattern on top with light grey-blue under wing. I Google’d up a few paint schemes to get an idea of where to place the decals and to see what other details can be added. Here is the result:

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So, the Kobra is no more – this is a bummer but what can you do. As I mentioned in my last post I have procured a Sturmovik and will integrate that into the list. For Limited Air Support it is a 70 point hit to upgrade (?) from the Kobra to the IL-2. To make up the difference, I have tweaked the number of Stuarts I am taking from 8 (4 w/ AA) to 6 (3 w/AA). I’ll think on this for a while but it seems the most straightforward way to go. Here is what I am working towards for Rota:

Allentown Rota

I’ve been on vacation and haven’t made any real progress for a couple of weeks. Getting back in the groove, I finished up three SU-100’s that I had purchased for my Late War list (Udarny) to get them off the work table. This follows the new rules – everything that gets purchased gets painted! I suppose that I could proxy them in a pinch for SU-85’s in Mid War if I wanted to use that option as well.

These are a bit of an experiment. I didn’t use my usual three step process (basecoat, drybrush, detail). Instead, I did all of the highlights and shading with the airbrush and finished with a couple of oil washes. I think they compare pretty favorably and this method is much faster. I used Vallejo Model Color paints cut with Liquitex Medium/Distilled Water/Liquitex Flow Aid. Colors used were Russian Green for the basecoat and shadows, Russian Green/Russian WWII Uniform at 50/50 for the mid shades, and Russian Green/Iraqi Sand for highlights. Van Dyke Brown was used for the oil washes. Finish coat is Vallejo Satin Varnish mixed 50/50 with the airbrush thinner mix from above.

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Now that I’ve got these off the bench I will continue working on my Rota list for next month. I need to rework the list given the P-39 Kobra nerfing – I still want air power and have purchased an IL-2 Sturmovik in 1/144 (Zvesda model). It is more expensive, points-wise, so I’ll have to tweak the list over the weekend and finalize my painting plan for this month.

Here is the draft Rota list I am working towards:

Allentown Rota

I may adjust the number of Stuarts down, and the number of SU-122’s up. I was toying with the idea of adding SU-85’s but they are lots of points and I would prefer to have the air support.

From a collecting standpoint I have all of the infantry stands painted, the BA-64’s, the SU-122’s, and the Stuart light tanks. I still need to purchase the M3A1 scout cars and the trucks for the AA teams in the HQ.

I have accumulated the balance of the models I need including a P-39 Kobra in 1/144 scale. I found it on ebay from this guy:

Link to aircraft model on E-bay

I was a little surprised how small the model is in 1/144, but it is workable. It comes pre-painted and requires minimal assembly, but is unfortunately only available in US and UK colors. It was a pretty simple job to repaint in Soviet colors after a quick google search to find a color scheme:

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Next up, I am going to assemble and paint the Universal Carriers with crews.

This week was more-or-less a total loss as far as painting and modeling are concerned. I had to take another business trip to the west coast, with an unscheduled stop on the way back in Detroit (again, same two clients). Nothing much to report on progress, but I did do a little prep work today.

I have three SU-100’s on the table that are now completely assembled and basecoated in Russian Green. I have also started to prep one Rota platoon of Universal Carriers (nine vehicles) and one additional SU-122 that are all Battlefront resin models. I will finish up my purchasing this week for PLAN ROTA, I need M3A1’s (7) and maybe some odds and ends.

While I was away, a bunch of orders were delivered. I have the Universal Carriers and SU-122 that I mentioned above, flamethrower teams, a pack of tank commanders, two squad command/commissar packs, a heavy mortar platoon, Rota Razvedki crews (2 packs), motorcycles and sidecars for the mid-war company command, and an artillery command section. With this batch, I can finish a platoon of Rota’s in UC”s, have all the crew necessary for the M3A1 scout cars, can flesh out a full strength heavy mortar company, and will also have the odd command and commisar stands for all of the non-BF stuff that I have painted up.

In addition, there are still 45mm AT guns on the bench from last week, as well as the PSC HMG’s and mortars.

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I’ve had a chance to think about my list and how it performed at NJCon this week. I’ve taken a short break from painting and modeling to recharge the batteries and in the mean time thought about what I like and what I dislike about my Moto/Tankovy hybrid.

First and foremost, it is apparent that if I want to play an motorized infantry list, Motostrelkovy is not the way to go. There is no moto in Moto ;-> I used my Stuart tanks as transports but this is less than ideal as tank riders are extremely vulnerable. It is hard to hide a big platoon of tanks, even light tanks, and taking a small platoon means that each tank is carrying two or three infantry teams. Not good. I also think that infantry + MG armed transports is more efficient than just more infantry teams. Vehicle MG’s rock. The tanks provide MG’s when used as transports, but I am going to buy the tanks regardless of what I do with the infantry companies. I’m not giving up my Stuarts, I think they are cool!

So, my current thinking is that I will morph the force I am building into a Rota list. I’ve hopped around the blogosphere getting ideas and there are two builds that appeal to me – the scout cars and the universal carriers. Doing the math, the carrier option provides the max number of vehicle MG shots when mounted and on the move. The scout car option has less dice, but greater firepower from the .50’s so in use is probably more effective. Infantry is almost always dug in and the .50’s are also useful against light armor. Defensively the carriers spread out better, are smaller and easier to hide, and minimize infantry losses when a transport is destroyed.

On balance, I think I will start by adding one full platoon of each type, scout car and universal carrier, to my list. I have plenty of infantry so I’ll only have to purchase the transports and crews. This is another advantage, albeit an out-of-game advantage, to the carrier option – they are three-to-a-pack with crews included. The scout cars are single vehicles and do not include the Rota crew. So, three packs of carriers to a platoon vs. five scout cars + a crew pack.

I already have Rota crews, and I just picked up a pack of universal carriers. I need to clear the stuff that is currently on the table and get cracking. I don’t have any games lined up immediately so I probably have until mid-August to get this all painted.